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A New Floor for the Silenced?: Congolese Hip-Hop in Belgium

Jamina Mertens, Wouter Goedertier, Idesbald Goddeeris, Dominique De Brabanter



Contrary to most other former metropoles, Belgian postcolonial memory does not provoke much turmoil. It is dominated by white narratives, which highlight Congolese gratitude and nostalgia. This article questions this discourse by analyzing hip-hop songs of Congolese artists in Belgium. Many songs deal with the urban context, but the colonial past has recently also become a major topic. Hip-hop songs give voice to hybridity and frustration, criticizing both Belgians and Congolese. Simultaneously, they reveal a great deal of ignorance among Congolese immigrants about their country’s history, for which both Congolese parents and Belgian society are blamed. All in all, hip-hop artists denounce the neglect of the Congolese voice in postcolonial memory.

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